So, I am sitting here, trying to figure out a way to describe the newest series I am working on. The first thing that comes to mind is redefining what beauty means to us. By us, I mean all of you [out there] who wish to be involved. If women as a whole take that word "beauty" and give it new meaning, their own meaning, and share that with others, we don't have to continue to be brainwashed into believing the beauty ideals shoved down our throats daily. As women, myself included, we were raised or grew up to believe that it was "normal" to feel insecure about our bodies, envy those that we wished we looked like, ultimately, viewing other women as competition and shaming them for it. I recently made a post on Facebook the other day, expressing how sad it makes me to know that we live in a society where the majority of women feel threatened by other women, and when we feel threatened, we go right into that dark place of shaming others. The reality is, at the core of each of us, we are all vulnerable, and all come from similar places. Whether we still suffer from insecurities everyday, every so often, or have completely moved on from that, my point is, we have suffered that feeling..and when is the last time you ever considered that about someone else? It all starts with the way we are raised and taught to treat ourselves. The only way we can expect to make a difference in our own lives as well as the lives of others, is by the way we choose to treat ourselves first. Once there is a foundation of love and respect for ourselves, we usually start treating other people better. It's a full circle. I am in no way saying that fixing the internal damage inside of us will happen over night, nor make a world of difference. What I am doing is trying to start the conversation and start the positive thinking and positive body talk.
I am photographing women [and men, should they wish to join in] and allowing them to tell me what beauty means to them, and how it is that they got there. I am hoping that the small pieces of their lives they are willing to offer up, will help each and every one of you realize that we are all the same internally. We have all been there, and it's going to be okay. We learned this behavior somewhere- be it the media, our parents, our friends, family, etc., but it does not mean we need to keep going on feeling this way.
The project is still new and up for change and growth, like I hope all of you will be. If you feel inclined to share your experiences with me or wish to join in and be photographed, please contact me!: firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise, I will continue the series with photographing both strangers, friends, and anyone who wishes to participate. This project serves as a bit of therapy and is meant to help make people feel good and comforted and know they're not alone.
Below is the first portrait I took. From now on, I will just be posting images with some quotes from our conversation.
"Beauty to me is being kind, genuine, and comfortable in your own skin."
-"Have you always felt that way?"
"No. I had a lot of weight issues growing up, so that's something I have learned through trial and error."